I plan on making a mineralized substrate for my tank
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:04 PM   #1
Cinbos
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I plan on making a mineralized substrate for my tank


Just as the title says. I read an article on here about someone going over the steps of mieralizing dirt for a planted tank. His steps were quite thurough, but it seems as if they were really drawn out.

I plan to speed up the process by drying the top soil out in the oven, and also baking the pottery clay in the oven as well.

In the artile the gentlemen states that "cheap" top soil will do just fine. What is "cheap" top soil and is there a specific soil/dirt I should be looking to buy?

Also, how long would I have to bake clay? I know know nothing about pottery.

Lastley, would baking the dirt/soil be ok? I really don't want to wait days for soil and clay to dry.

Here's the article for a reference: http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/sh...d.php?t=152027
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:35 PM   #2
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You can bake natural soil in the oven to mineralize it. But, I haven't done that, and I don't know how long it takes or what temperature to use. There is no reason to bake the clay, since it doesn't contain any organic nitrogen, as far as I know.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:31 PM   #3
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Default I plan on making a mineralized substrate for my tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoppy View Post
You can bake natural soil in the oven to mineralize it. But, I haven't done that, and I don't know how long it takes or what temperature to use. There is no reason to bake the clay, since it doesn't contain any organic nitrogen, as far as I know.
I would bake the clay to harden it faster, just as a clay pot or cup, and break it up and grind it into a powder to mix in the soil (cant really grind up clay in putty form). I just don't know how long to bake it though. As far as soil, what type?
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinbos View Post
I would bake the clay to harden it faster, just as a clay pot or cup, and break it up and grind it into a powder to mix in the soil (cant really grind up clay in putty form). I just don't know how long to bake it though. As far as soil, what type?
I don't think you really want to harden/fire the clay. I believe the oven use is just a shortcut to drive out the nitrogen compounds (and maybe a few others). These would eventually get converted to some sort of volatile via microbial action in the standard flood/dessicate method.

Also, I thought typically the clay(and other additives) were added after mineralizing the soil, but before putting in the tank?

If you just want to get a powder form to add to the soil, let it dry out, and then smash/grind it up. smush it out into thin sheets if you need to. I've only bought clay online once in the past, but it came powdered (back in the day when laterite was the trendy thing), and I think powdered is the preferred way to store/ship clays (pointless to pay extra shipping for water). If not, just break it into clumps and smash it into thin sheets, should dry out quick enough, then just bust them up and get an easy to mix powder. If that's too much work, you could consider forcing it through a screen/sieve, to make granules, let them dry, and then just mix them in. won't be quite as uniform as mixing in a powder, but I don't think it will matter much.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lochaber View Post
I don't think you really want to harden/fire the clay. I believe the oven use is just a shortcut to drive out the nitrogen compounds (and maybe a few others). These would eventually get converted to some sort of volatile via microbial action in the standard flood/dessicate method.

Also, I thought typically the clay(and other additives) were added after mineralizing the soil, but before putting in the tank?

If you just want to get a powder form to add to the soil, let it dry out, and then smash/grind it up. smush it out into thin sheets if you need to. I've only bought clay online once in the past, but it came powdered (back in the day when laterite was the trendy thing), and I think powdered is the preferred way to store/ship clays (pointless to pay extra shipping for water). If not, just break it into clumps and smash it into thin sheets, should dry out quick enough, then just bust them up and get an easy to mix powder. If that's too much work, you could consider forcing it through a screen/sieve, to make granules, let them dry, and then just mix them in. won't be quite as uniform as mixing in a powder, but I don't think it will matter much.
Right the clay would be added after soaking and baking the soil a few times. I guess I will just let the clay dry naturally. I suppose I'll just go ahead and buy and then let it sit out.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:05 PM   #6
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Also what is the best type of soil to buy? I'd rather not purchase anything online, nor do I want to buy the expensive flourite and what not at local pet stores. Trying to keep this substrate fairly cheap for the amount I will come out with.

In the link, the guy just mentioned cheap top soil, whatever that means.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:54 PM   #7
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I wonder, if I am unable to get ahold of Dolomite and Muriate of potash, could I just coat the bottom of the tank with the dry ferts I have (K2SO4, KNO3, KH2PO4, and CSM+B)?
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:50 PM   #8
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I would not just put any soil. as it can contain harmful chemicals. I would only use the organic one.
The only question I have is, whether to wait until the middle layer is almost dry and hard or go ahead and pour water right after we are done with the soil? It seems that the middle layer of mud will make the water completely brown and completely murky. Please correct me if you have done this project.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaques View Post
I would not just put any soil. as it can contain harmful chemicals. I would only use the organic one.
The only question I have is, whether to wait until the middle layer is almost dry and hard or go ahead and pour water right after we are done with the soil? It seems that the middle layer of mud will make the water completely brown and completely murky. Please correct me if you have done this project.
No I have not done this project. But I would cap the soil I make with pool filter sand. But keep in mind I am rinsing the soil and then drying it out in the oven, and I will do this step mulitple times.

I just need to know more about what soil. I fiugured organic is a given, but what type/brand? And what does everyone else use?
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinbos View Post
I wonder, if I am unable to get ahold of Dolomite and Muriate of potash, could I just coat the bottom of the tank with the dry ferts I have (K2SO4, KNO3, KH2PO4, and CSM+B)?
Does anyone who has worked on their own substrate know if this will work out fine? Or should I go with the dolomite, Muriate of Potash, and Clay?
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:59 AM   #11
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I used muriate of potash and clay.I sprinkled the potash on the bottom of the aquarium fairly generous. Then I mixed the mineralized soil with clay a little green sand added water, mixing it up to a stiff consistency. Then I put a little of my cap which was black diamond blasting sand around the perimeter so when the soil was put in you couldn't see the soil.Now you put your mixture the the aquarium when that's done cap it. Then put a saucer on the cap so you can fill it without messing everything up.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:23 AM   #12
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Default I plan on making a mineralized substrate for my tank

Quote:
Originally Posted by mooncon View Post
I used muriate of potash and clay.I sprinkled the potash on the bottom of the aquarium fairly generous. Then I mixed the mineralized soil with clay a little green sand added water, mixing it up to a stiff consistency. Then I put a little of my cap which was black diamond blasting sand around the perimeter so when the soil was put in you couldn't see the soil.Now you put your mixture the the aquarium when that's done cap it. Then put a saucer on the cap so you can fill it without messing everything up.
What soil do you use? And no dolomite? Lastly, how do you prepare the clay to mix with the doil?
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:29 AM   #13
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Default I plan on making a mineralized substrate for my tank

Also green sand?
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:01 AM   #14
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I've had mild success with the oven method... It was hard to judge when the soil was actually dry and I ended up having to put 'bake' it two or three times. It didn't smell pleasant either.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:44 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by homemadepopcorn View Post
I've had mild success with the oven method... It was hard to judge when the soil was actually dry and I ended up having to put 'bake' it two or three times. It didn't smell pleasant either.
I figured I would be doing the soak and dry process a few times. As far as the smell, I could care less. We'll see how it goes.
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